Punxsy holds on despite late Philipsburg rally

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Trailing 10-2 in the top of the seventh inning, Philipsburg's 15- and 16-year old VFW All-Star team scored seven runs and had the tying run in scoring position, but relief pitcher Bobby Thompson closed the door to earn the save for Punxsy, which won 10-9 in its second game of the All-Star Area 6 tournament.

"They had the tying run at third base, and you're always saying to yourself, 'If we get that grounder, maybe we can turn two,'" Punxsy manager Mike Klingensmith said. "But you've just got to pull the string sometime and go out and make the pitching change. But, hey, we pulled it out."

Starting pitcher Jamie Bush, who allowed just two runs on four hits through the first six innings struggled a bit with his control in the seventh, and Philipsburg came up with some clutch hits to put the pressure on Punxsy.

"Jamie pitched a well-of-a-game," Klingensmith said. "He just got tired in that last inning, which is understandable in this kind of heat. Bobby did really well to come in and close it out for us to get the save."

The temperature stayed in the high 80s throughout the game, despite an evening start-time, and the humidity was high with storms surrounding the area.

Punxsy had placed itself in position for the win earlier in the game with a big third inning. Punxsy trailed 2-0 entering the third after Philipsburg scored one in the first on an RBI double by Mason Pride and one in the third on another RBI double by Pride.

Dakota Thomas led off the inning with a single for Punxsy, and Michael Klingensmith reached base on an error by the center fielder.

Both runners scored on Ty Zimmerman's RBI double. Bush and Thompson eached walked to load the bases, and Christian Falgout came through with a clutch three-RBI double, giving Punxsy a 5-2 lead.

Falgout scored on a double by Clayton Dale, and Dale scored on an RBI triple by Thomas to stretch Punxsy's lead to five and cap its scoring for the inning.

Falgout also came through with a big hit in the bottom of the fourth inning, the only other inning Punxsy scored any runs, when he tripled to drive in Bush, who had doubled.

"Christian had a couple key hits in the game," manager Klingensmith said. "His hits gave us some important runs. He really came through when we needed him to."

Klingensmith also credited his defense for keeping his team in the game.

"The defense played super," he said. "We had some really nice catches in the outfield, and the infield made some really nice plays."

With the win, Punxsy remains undefeated in the Area 6 tournament, having defeated Curwensville last Wednesday. Punxsy's next game will be a rematch at Curwensville on Wednesday.

"Now we go to Curwensville on Wednesday," Klingensmith said. "It's going to be a tough game, so we have to hit the ball, field the ball and play to win."

Punxsy is the sole remaining undefeated team left in the round-robin tournament, having defeated both of its opponents this past week. The winner of the Area 6 tournament will advance to States in Huntingdon, Aug. 5-8.